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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 10:13 GMT
US clears BASF's Engelhard offer
A BASF chemical plant in Port Arthur, Texas
BASF is the world's largest chemicals company by sales
German chemicals giant BASF has had its hostile $4.9bn (2.8bn) takeover bid for rival firm Engelhard cleared by US competition authorities.

The firm also said it had extended the expiration date of its offer for Engelhard to 3 March, by which time it expects to have EU regulatory approval.

US-based Engelhard has repeatedly rejected BASF's $37 per share offer as too low.

BASF is the world's biggest chemicals firm with over 80,000 employees.

Engelhard is a leader in pollution-reducing catalytic converters for automotive and industrial use.

The company has hired investment bank Merrill Lynch as an adviser in the hope of finding a better offer than the one from BASF.

Last week Engelhard posted a 10% rise in net profit for the three months to the end of December, and said that more stringent emissions regulations across the world would help to drive continued sales growth.

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